The New Immigration Contestation: Social Movements and Local Immigration Policy Making in the United States, 2000–2011

American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 119, No. 4 (January 2014), pp. 1104-1155

53 Pages Posted: 6 May 2014

See all articles by Justin Peter Steil

Justin Peter Steil

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ion Vasi

University of Iowa, Department of Sociology

Date Written: May 5, 2014

Abstract

Analyzing oppositional social movements in the context of municipal immigration ordinances, the authors examine whether the explanatory power of resource mobilization, political process, and strain theories of social movements’ impact on policy outcomes differs when considering proactive as opposed to reactive movements. The adoption of pro-immigrant (proactive) ordinances was facilitated by the presence of immigrant community organizations and of sympathetic local political allies. The adoption of anti-immigrant (reactive) ordinances was influenced by structural social changes, such as rapid increases in the local Latino population, that were framed as threats. The study also finds that pro-immigrant protest events can influence policy in two ways, contributing both to the passage of pro-immigrant ordinances in the locality where protests occur and also inhibiting the passage of anti-immigrant ordinances in neighboring cities.

Keywords: Social Movements, Immigration, Federalism, Local Governments

Suggested Citation

Steil, Justin Peter and Vasi, Ion, The New Immigration Contestation: Social Movements and Local Immigration Policy Making in the United States, 2000–2011 (May 5, 2014). American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 119, No. 4 (January 2014), pp. 1104-1155, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2433132

Justin Peter Steil (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Ion Vasi

University of Iowa, Department of Sociology ( email )

W140, Seashore Hall
Iowa Ave.
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

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